Now Dorner Manufacturing has introduced a new line of conveyors to help achieve maximum sanitation at minimal expense.
The AquaGard line of stainless steel chain conveyors, launched in February, is intended for applications like bakery, snack food, confectionery and other products that need sanitary operation but don’t use the most intense level of washdowns. It’s a complement to Dorner’s AquaPruf line, introduced in 2007, which is for meat, poultry and other applications where sanitation includes harsh cleaning chemicals and high-pressure hot water.
AquaGard doesn’t have AquaPruf’s flip-up belt feature, which allows easy access to the interior of the conveyor’s track for extra-thorough cleaning. But it’s more economical than AquaPruf. And AquaGard has certain key features in common, not only with AquaPruf, but with Dorner equipment in general.
AquaGard is designed for speeds of up to 260 feet per minute in most applications, not just in straight segments but around curves and up and down slopes. The key is design options that can be matched to the needs of a particular product or package.
For instance, many packaging lines need to transfer items between conveyor segments, such as when they enter or leave a piece of equipment like a metal detector. Getting items over the gap between segments can be problematic, especially with challenging packages like unstable bottles.
Dorner offers a selection of segment-transfer accessories. These include nosebars that protrude from the very end of a conveyor segment. Some are slave-driven from that segment, providing a power boost that gets items across the gap reliably at high speeds. Where no such boost is required, a simple roller transfer plate provides a more economical alternative. These accessories can transfer products with a diameter as small as two inches.
Another appealing aspect of AquaGard is the ease with which accessories can be attached to its sides. Guiding flaps, instruments like photoelectric sensors and other accessories can be mounted on posts or rails that literally snap into keyholes on the sides. Dorner’s goal is to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for end users to drill holes or otherwise alter the conveyor for accessory mounting. The wires that attach to accessories, or the power cords for the conveyor’s motors, can pass through conduits that also attach easily to the sides, and stand several inches away from the conveyor for easier sanitation.
Dorner prides itself on quick delivery times for all its equipment. Its assembly process at its headquarters in Hartland, Wis., combines the best aspects of standardization and customization. Conveyors are constructed in modules, with widths available from 4 to 36 inches and lengths from 3 to 83 feet. Dorner uses built-to-order and engineered-to-order principles to keep inventories low while turning out equipment customized to each application. Delivery times for AquaGard are 10 working days for straight conveyors and 15 days for curved ones.